Friday, February 22, 2008


Leland Eldon Porter

April 2, 1913 - February 21,2008

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the wild, and am free.

Wendell Berry

I have been stumbling merrily over memories of you all day.....I keep seeing you open the door from the garage to the kitchen with your suspenders, flannel shirt, and an arm full of groceries, chuckling as you unload the loot...the pickles, the olives, the kiwi, the rootbeer, always the ice cream, the fixings for huge spectacular breakfasts, and the kiwi that I didn't even know existed.

I remember you nurturing your plants like a tender father. Even on one of my last visits, when living for you was getting more and more tiresome, you could still recall the names of your plants and where and when they became your own.

The glass grapes in your purple bedroom...the red shag carpet that I would love to squish between my toes, the oversized checkers, the magical cracker jar that was somehow always full, your many rocks scattered along the deck, each veined with happy memories of past excursions and adventures. The rocket park on hot sticky days, the Bountiful pool, Cherry hill Waterslide, Lagoon, picnicing at Sundance, going to the town art show, driving around in your motor home just because, the picture of the bearded man praying over his bread that always made me cry, even when I was little.

You sipped life like a glass of cold lemonade on a hot summer's day. Never worrying about the past or the future. Enjoying the gift of each moment to the fullest. Finding complete bliss in just watching others grow.

And you made it more than obvious that Grandma was the love of your life and your best friend. Teasing and flirting with each other like you were head over heels in love right until Grandma's last moments. Never a negative word, look, or gesture. Always a loving smile and a pat on the hand. There were plenty of things that you didn't have in common. Grandma loved travel and excitement and had some eccentricities, while you were happy sitting on your porch swing watching the hummingbirds and the setting sun beyond the Great Salt Lake. The monumental beauty of this was that you let her be who she wanted to be and loved her all the more.

you let us all be

who we were

and loved us

all the more

When despair for the world grew in me

Your home was a refuge

Where I could rest in your grace

and be free

You were a refuge

I love you Grandpa


Althea said...

Thank you for that beautiful tribute. You summed up my feelings much better than I could have done. It made me cry.

marne said...

Oh Vanessa, I'm so sorry! Losing grandparents is so hard. I still miss my Grandma W nearly every day. This is a really beautiful tribute, and I'm glad you have so many good memories. It's the little things, isn't it?

JuhnDeere said...

I am sorry about the loss of your Grandpa, Vanessa. What a beautiful tribute. He must have been a wonderful Grandpa.

Camille (of the wind) said...

Thanks Vanessa, you painted a perfect picture of him.

Joal said...

I enjoyed the list of memories; you have a pleasant way with those. Some of the memories came to life for me because they were memories Elizabeth has told me and so I got to share them through both of you. He really was a kind man.

A few days after Elizabeth and I got married and were living in his basement, he came to the house to say there was something he had meant to tell me at the marriage but had forgotten to: "Always treat Elizabeth with respect, love, and patience, no matter what." I thanked him and he left.

Even though I only knew Grandma Porter for a little over a year before she died, I was continually impressed with the amount of love she and Grandpa Porter had for each other.

Thanks for the tribute.

CJ3 said...

Vanessa, really sorry to hear this, I feel dumb I didn't already know. Your words honor him well.